JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Doug Marrone changed his approach. He listened to his critics. For the first time this year -- and seemingly, Marrone’s tenure in Jacksonville -- the Jaguars elected to take the ball first, hoping to jumpstart their offense and avoid yet another slow-start by the defense.
It still didn’t work.
Although the defense did indeed record a three-and-out on the Bengals opening possession, that would prove to be their highlight of the day. Veteran running back Joe Mixon ran for 151 yards and added three total touchdowns, and rookie quarterback Joe Burrow was 25 of 36 for 300 yards as the Bengals (1-2-1) defeated the Jaguars (1-3) 33-25 at Paul Brown Stadium. Mixon had zero touchdowns entering the day. After an Opening Day win, the Jaguars have now lost three straight.
To add salt to the wound: injuries devastated the Jaguars on Sunday. Rookie cornerback C.J. Henderson was ruled out in the first half with a shoulder injury. Linebacker Myles Jack, easily the team’s most effective defender in the first half, left in the second half with an ankle injury. Left tackle Cam Robinson, tight end Tyler Eifert, defensive back D.J. Hayden, and wide receiver Laviska Shenault all also exited the game at various points with injury.
Before Sunday, Burrow had been sacked 14 times in the Bengals’ first three games of 2020. The Jaguars did not get to Burrow once. Myles Jack did have a nifty interception in the end-zone, but that would be the team’s only takeaway.
That aforementioned, opening drive for Jacksonville ended prematurely with Gardner Minshew’s fourth interception of the season, another pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked. Minshew started off slow, going 1-4 on the Big Cats’ opening two possessions, but recovered to complete 27 of 40 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns went to D.J. Chark, who returned from his own injury with an eight catch, 95-yard day.
Rookie running back James Robinson continued his torrid start to 2020, tallying 75 rushing yards on 17 carries and 32 receiving yards. With 48 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards in the first half, Robinson eclipsed 408 yards on the season, the most by an undrafted player through four games of his career.
The Jaguars are on the road once again next week when they travel to play the winless Texans. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.